If you're reading this, you should already be aware Dayton Moore extended minor league contracts to Miguel Tejada and Endy Chavez. They join the likes of Xavier Nady, Max Ramirez, Willy Taveras, Brandon Wood, George Sherrill and Dan Wheeler, who have either made notable Major League impacts or were once well-regarded prospects but are now on their last proverbial professional leg with the Royals.
I don't want to get too carried away with this seeing how almost any minor league signing is harmless and worth a shot. However, what stood out to me was the 38-year-old Tejada told the Associated Press that he will earn $1.1 million dollars guaranteed and could earn $400,000 in incentives (not breaking a hip, perhaps?). Tejada was American League MVP in 2002, but didn't play a pitch of Major League baseball in 2012. Chavez hasn't played a season significantly above replacement level since 2006.
Meanwhile, the Royals will pay Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana a combined $17 million in 2013 (not counting the $1 million of Santana's deal the Angels will pay this year). The Tejada signing offsets the cash offered by the Angels, so even if you're on board with the Wil Myers-James Shields trade, that's $18 that could have been spent on more stable pitching to complement Shields.
I listed about a dozen pitchers I would have rather had in my Q&A post. Brandon McCarthy was one I forgot (2-years, $15.5 million, but only $5.25 million due in 2013), now that I'm back on the topic. Player-for-player, the ones in Santana's price range were more reliable than Santana and McCarthy and anyone else in Guthrie's price range were at least equally reliable and didn't require a 3-year commitment.
The Kansas City Star's story didn't include any quotes from Moore (and neither did MLB.com's version). I assume he'll spin it one of two ways:
1. Players like Tejada and Chavez will provide veteran leadership.
2. Players like Tejada and Chavez could contribute in 2013.
If Moore goes the latter route, he's off his rocker. There's virtually zero chance either player takes a meaningful at bat all season. If Moore goes the former route, Tejada and Co.'s lone value might be in mentoring Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer.
If somehow Tejada, Chavez or any of the names listed above can coach some form of consistency out of the Royals' young bats, the money spent will be well worth it. But if all they're in the organization to do is help the farm teams win, I don't see the point. The players that have gone through Northwest Arkansas have shown they can win against their peers. I don't think Tejada — and certainly not Chavez — garner much name-recognition in clubhouses these days.
The third alternative is that Tejada is back on the juice. If not, I think it's fair to say Moore just wasted more than $1 million on minor league contracts when the playoff contender he's supposedly building has several holes remaining at the Major League level.
Fire Dayton Moore